In case you missed it this morning, today’s dreadful Trump administration news comes from the immigration policy world. This is from the good people at Think Progress:
“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has terminated temporary legal protections for roughly 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants, many of whom have lived in the United States since a pair of earthquakes devastated El Salvador in 2001.
The Trump administration will end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Salvadorans by September 9, 2019, giving recipients the chance to reregister and renew their current status to live and work in the United States through one final 18-month extension. The current TPS designation for Salvadorans expires on March 9, 2018.
Since the 1990s, TPS has provided legal protections on a temporary basis for people fleeing dire conditions like war, violence, or natural disasters. Roughly 262,500 Salvadorans have been approved for TPS after it became the first country to receive the designation because of civil war in 1990. About 16 percent of the current Salvadoran population in the United States are TPS holders, many of whom are parents to roughly 200,000 U.S. citizen children.
The first TPS designation for El Salvador expired in 1992, but country conditions did not improve, so those original TPS recipients were granted ‘deferred enforcement departure’ through 1995. In its latest designation, the United States granted TPS to Salvadorans in 2001 after two earthquakes hit the country that year. Temporary in nature, the status has been extended in roughly 18-month increments by both Republican and Democratic administrations.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen determined that circumstances resulting from the 2001 earthquakes ‘no longer exist,’ senior White House administration officials said on a press call Monday about the program’s termination. A senior administration official pointed out that the decision was made in part because El Salvador received a number of repatriated Salvadoran immigrants last year; that reconstruction projects have been completed in El Salvador, including hospitals and schools; and that other infrastructure needs have been repaired.
‘The conditions on the ground is really what we look at,’ a senior administration official said on background. He added that TPS beneficiaries should look to arrange for their departure or find other immigration avenues to ‘apply for any other status for which they’d be independently qualified for.’”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights issued the following response to the renouncement:
“Today’s announcement is heartbreaking, immoral, and simply inhumane. Salvadoran TPS holders have relied on this humanitarian protection to safeguard them from being deported to a country that continues to experience extreme violence and extraordinary conditions. They are hardworking, contributing members of our society who pay taxes and bring stability to our economy and national security. This decision will harm nearly 200,000 Salvadoran TPS holders, and their over 190,000 U.S. citizen children. Hundreds of thousands of families will be torn apart by this administration’s senseless decision if Congress does not come together immediately to find a humane solution for TPS holders.”
If congress fails to act and override the Trump order with new legislation, the order promises to devastate thousands of families right here in North Carolina. For more background on the TPS program check out this handy fact sheet posted last fall by the American Immigration Council.